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7 Marines, 1 Sailor Presumed Dead After Accident Involving Amphibious Vehicles on California Coast

© AP Photo / Bullit MarquezA U.S. Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), with both Philippine and U.S. Marines on board, prepares to storm the beach during an amphibious landing exercise at the two-week joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 34-2018" Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales province which is facing the South China Sea in northwestern Philippines. About 8,000 U.S. and Philippine troops are taking part in the annual exercise, the largest since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power
A U.S. Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), with both Philippine and U.S. Marines on board, prepares to storm the beach during an amphibious landing exercise at the two-week joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise dubbed Balikatan 34-2018 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales province which is facing the South China Sea in northwestern Philippines. About 8,000 U.S. and Philippine troops are taking part in the annual exercise, the largest since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power - Sputnik International
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Earlier, the death of one US Marine officer was confirmed by the I Marine Expeditionary Force following an accident during routine exercises off the coast of California conducted on 30 July.

Seven Marines and one US Navy sailor who went missing after an incident during training exercises in southern California are presumed dead, according to a statement by the I Marine Expeditionary Force. Earlier, search and rescue efforts were being made with the support of the Navy and the Coast Guard.

“It is with a heavy heart, that I decided to conclude the search and rescue effort,” Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU Commanding Officer, said in a statement. “The steadfast dedication of the Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen to the persistent rescue effort was tremendous.”

​The incident, that initially left 1 Marine dead and 8 counterparts missing after some training exercises off the coast of southern California, involved 15 Marines and one sailor. An amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) in which they were riding began to sink near the coast, off of San Clemente. 

According to Gen. David H. Berger, a Marine Corps commandant, two other vehicles observed the "training mishap", and their observations were used to locate the place where the AAV sank.

The soldiers involved were assigned the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

After the "mishap", US Marine Corps suspended the use of amphibious assault vehicles in training exercises.

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